65115.09.2009 Press release issued by the RegistrarChamber judgmentE. S. AND OTHERS V. SLOVAKIA (application no. 8227/04) FAILURE TO PROVIDE ADEQUATE PROTECTIONAGAINST DOMESTIC VIOLENCE Violation of Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman and degrading treatment)Violation of Article 8 (right to respect for family and private life)of the European Convention on Human Rights  Under Article 41 (just satisfaction) of the Convention, the Court awarded the applicants 8,000 euros (EUR) in respect of non-pecuniary damage and EUR 2,000 for costs and expenses. (The judgment is available only in English.) Principal facts The applicants, E.S., a mother, and her three children, Er.S., Ja. S. and Já. S., are Slovak nationals, born in 1964, 1986, 1989 and 1988, respectively. They live in Košice (Slovakia). In March 2001 E.S. left her husband, S., father to her three children, and filed for divorce, which was granted in May 2002. She was subsequently granted custody of the children. In April 2001 E.S. filed a criminal complaint against her husband claiming that he had ill-treated both her and their children and sexually abused one of their daughters. Two years later he was convicted of ill-treatment, violence and sexual abuse and sentenced to four years’ imprisonment. In May 2001 E.S. requested an interim measure ordering her husband to move out of the council flat of which they were joint tenants. The domestic courts subsequently dismissed her request, finding that under the relevant legislation it lacked the power to restrict her husband’s right to use the property. On appeal, the courts upheld that decision noting that E.S. would be entitled to bring proceedings to terminate the joint tenancy after a final decision in the divorce proceedings and, in the meantime, she could apply for an order requiring her husband to refrain from inappropriate behaviour. The Constitutional Court subsequently held that there had been no violation of E.S.’s rights as she had not applied for such an order. However, it held that the lower courts had failed to take appropriate action to protect E.S.’s children from ill-treatment. It did not award compensation as it considered that the finding of a violation provided appropriate just satisfaction. Following the introduction of new legislation, E.S. made further applications and two orders were granted in July 2003 and December 2004: the first preventing her ex-husband from entering the flat; and, the second awarding her exclusive tenancy. In the meantime, the applicants had had to move away from their home, family and friends and Er.S. and Ja.S. had had to change school. Complaints and procedure Relying on Articles 3 and 8 of the Convention, the applicants complained that the authorities had failed to protect them adequately from domestic violence. The application was lodged with the European Court of Human Rights on 9 February 2004. Decision of the Court The Government submitted that E.S. had failed to exhaust domestic remedies. It accepted that there had been a violation of her children’s rights under Articles 3 and 8 but claimed that they had been provided with adequate redress by the domestic courts. The Court found that the alternative measure proposed by the Slovak Government, that is an order restraining E.S.’s ex husband from inappropriate behaviour, would not have provided the applicants with adequate protection against their husband and father and therefore did not amount to an effective domestic remedy which E.S. was required to exhaust. E.S. had not been in a position to apply to sever the tenancy until the divorce had been finalised in May 2002, approximately a year after the allegations against her ex-husband had first been brought. Given the nature and severity of the allegations, E.S. and her children had required immediate protection. During that period there had therefore been no effective remedy open to E.S. by which she could ensure that she and her children would be protected against the violence of her former husband. In relation to E.S.’s children, the Court did not consider that the finding of a violation amounted to adequate redress for the damage that they had suffered. The Government accepted that E.S.’s children had been subjected to treatment which had gone beyond the threshold of severity where Articles 3 and 8 could be applied. The Court found that Slovakia had also failed to protect E.S.’s rights under Articles 3 and 8. The Court therefore concluded that Slovakia had failed to fulfil its obligation to protect all of the applicants from ill-treatment, in violation of Articles 3 and 8.  *** This press release is a document produced by the Registry; the summary it contains does not bind the Court. The judgments, with the composition of the Court, are accessible on its Internet site (http://www.echr.coe.int).  Press contactsTracey Turner-Tretz (telephone : 00 33 (0)3 88 41 35 30) orStefano Piedimonte (telephone : 00 33 (0)3 90 21 42 04)Kristina Pencheva-Malinowski (telephone : 00 33 (0)3 88 41 35 70)Céline Menu-Lange (telephone : 00 33 (0)3 90 21 58 77)Frédéric Dolt (telephone : 00 33 (0)3 90 21 53 39) The European Court of Human Rights was set up in Strasbourg by the Council of Europe Member States in 1959 to deal with alleged violations of the 1950 European Convention on Human Rights. Under Article 43 of the Convention, within three months from the date of a Chamber judgment, any party to the case may, in exceptional cases, request that the case be referred to the 17‑member Grand Chamber of the Court. In that event, a panel of five judges considers whether the case raises a serious question affecting the interpretation or application of the Convention or its protocols, or a serious issue of general importance, in which case the Grand Chamber will deliver a final judgment. If no such question or issue arises, the panel will reject the request, at which point the judgment becomes final. Otherwise Chamber judgments become final on the expiry of the three-month period or earlier if the parties declare that they do not intend to make a request to refer.